October 31st, 2013

The Red Sox won the World Series and it’s time to plant garlic for next year. Garlic is one of the few vegetables that will be planted in the fall and harvested in the early summer. We have saved a few pounds of different varieties and will break them into singular cloves in order to plant them out. Once in the ground we will mulch the area really well giving the clove a little more insulation and weed suppression for the months ahead. Not long after planting, usually a couple months, the first sprouts come out of the ground and grow until spring. Then most of the energy will go into producing a bulb, which we will harvest and then repeat the cycle all over again. I am looking forward to putting the garlic in the ground, I feel like all we have been doing lately is cleanup and maintenance. It will be fun putting a plant into the ground again and begin growing for next season.

A fun note about garlic: at the market in Clemmons I was shown a Martha Stewart video where she shakes a blub of garlic in a bowl and in about 30 seconds the garlic is in cloves and most astonishing peeled. At first I was very suspicious but one of our customers tried Martha’s method and it and it works! Martha is amazing. Check out the video!

Have a great weekend,
Ann and the Sugar Creek Crew

The Best Sauteed Bok Choy via: http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-sauteed-bok-choy-280807

1 head bok choy, sliced, both white and green parts
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon grated gingerroot
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup chicken broth
crushed red pepper flakes

Rinse and drain bok choy and set aside.
Sauté onion and ginger in olive oil and sesame oil until onion is tender.
Add remaining ingredients and sauté for about 8 minutes.

Sauteed Radishes via: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/1724

1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 to 2 bunches radishes (about 1 pound with tops), trimmed and each cut into quarters or halves if small
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt margarine over medium-high heat. Add radishes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook 14 to 15 minutes or until radishes are fork-tender and lightly browned.
2. Remove skillet from heat; toss radishes with dill and transfer to warm serving bowl.

October 25th 2013

For over a week, this Friday/Saturday has been on our mind.  From looking at the long term forecast tonight was supposed the be our first frost as it showed low temps right around freezing.  This past Monday morning was not a concern because the low was in the mid 40's so you can imagine my surprise Monday morning when I was feeding/watering the turkeys and I felt a strong chill in the air and noticed ice crystals on the grass!  Fortunately, mother nature was kind and it was a very, very light frost that served only as a warning and didn't hurt any crops except two tender trays of microgreens.  Natalie and Ann worked Monday to put out row cover to protect the tender crops.  Row cover is a very light fabric that we place over the crops.  The row cover generally traps in a little of the earth's heat and keeps the veggies under the row cover about 3-4 degrees warmer.  Row cover also serves as a physical barrier so that ice doesn't form on the plants.

3 beds of row cover
Oops, missed a squash

It's a good thing that the row cover went out because Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings brought the first killing frost and tonight we are expecting a good freeze with temps in the upper 20's.  Fortunately, Sugar Creek Farm grows more than just tender summer veggies.  We also have a great crop of fall veggies coming out of the ground right now.  From carrots to kale and collards we've have plenty more to offer for the rest of the year.  Pictured below are couple of pictures of what the fall will have to offer!

Jeff and the Sugar Creek crew

no frost problems here!!

A light frost on a head of cabbage!

Grilled Hearts of Romaine from food network


2 hearts romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the grill or a grill pan.

Cut each heart of romaine in half lengthwise, leaving the end intact so each half holds together. Cut the tops of the lettuce, if necessary. Brush with olive oil and grill over medium heat until the lettuce chars and wilts slightly, about 6 minutes, turning a few times. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Black Radish Sandwich


1 black radish


Wash the radish and cut it up into slices.  Toss the slices with a little bit of salt and let sit in a bowl for 30 minutes to extract water from the radish.  You will periodically need to pour the water out of the bowl.  At the end of 30 minutes, the radish will not be crisp but instead it will have a softer texture.  Butter one piece of bread and load it up with radish slices.  The radish sandwich has actually has a savory meaty taste and feel to it!

October 18th, 2013

  • I’d like to talk more about radishes today – we've got a lot to choose from this week:

    - pink beauty radish
    - French breakfast radishes
    - black radish
    - watermelon radish
    - rat tail’s radish

     rat tail's radish from Real Veggies Farm Blog

    'Tis the season!  This is the first year of our growing the last two on that list.  The watermelon radish is crispy with mild and sweet flavor, excellent for salad, garnish and cooking in Asian dishes.  Rat tail’s radish is the pod of the radish.  Usually, radishes to go seed or bolt when it gets really warm.  This particular radish is geared towards early flower and pod production – lucky for us.  I first learned of them a couple of years ago at the market – thank you Mosers.  It is an heirloom  from Thailand.  The pods are mildly radish flavored – great raw in salads, as snacks or good addition to stir fries. 

    The black radish we grew this year is a round variety from Spain.  This is generally a very strong radish.  My favorite thing to do with these is to follow my grandmother’s advice:  grate/thinly slice the radish, sprinkle with salt, mix well and let it sit for at least 15 minutes or so – then rinse and add a vinaigrette dressing.  Great side.  When cooked, their flavor is similar to rutabaga. They are used in soups, stews, and omelettes and with tofu.

    The French Breakfast radish has been around for a while – at least since 1875 when listed  by seedsman JHH Gregory of Marblehead MA.  This was not long after the USDA was founded (1862). Prior to the USDA, the Department of treasury encouraged military personnel and ambassadors working abroad to collect seeds.  When the USDA was born, 1/3 of its budget went towards dispensing seeds, I believe they even paid folks to travel and bring back seeds according to an exhibit in DC I saw a few years ago: What's Cooking Uncle Sam: The Government's Effect on the American Diet.  If it ever comes this way, I highly recommend it seeing the exhibit!  The distribution program ended in 1924 – opening the market to private business.  

    Enjoy your radishes and your weekend,
    Natalie and the Sugar Creek Crew

    Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad from Kathy at Healthy. Happy. Life.
    makes 4 cups

    1 large watermelon radish, sliced into thin rounds
    1 small white onion, sliced into thin rounds
    1/3 cup orange juice
    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp pepper (fresh ground)
    2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    splash of rice wine vinegar (optional - adds an extra layer of tart-sweetness)

    1. Slice your onion and radish. Place in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl - toss well.
    3. Place in fridge to chill overnight.
    4. Serve! 

  • Winter Squash Pot Pie with Swiss Chard and Chickpeas from Vegetarian times 
  • serves 12
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (1 qt.)
  • 1 delicata or ½ red kuri squash, unpeeled, seeded, quartered, and cut into ½-inch-thick crescents (2 cups)
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 12-oz. bunch red Swiss chard, stems sliced, leaves coarsely chopped, divided
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen organic corn kernels
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
  • 1 cup plain almond milk, rice milk, or soymilk
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (½ 17.3-oz. pkg.), such as Pepperidge Farms, thawed
1. Bring broth, 4 cups water, squash, potatoes, Swiss chard stems, thyme, and salt to a boil in stockpot. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard leaves and corn, and cook 3 minutes more. Drain vegetables, and reserve broth. Measure broth, and add enough water to make 7 cups liquid. Transfer vegetables to large bowl, and stir in chickpeas.
2. Wipe out stockpot, add oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Sprinkle with flour and garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add reserved 7 cups broth liquid, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in almond milk. Stir sauce into vegetable mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cool. (If making ahead, transfer filling to bowl, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days.)
3. To assemble pot pie: Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour filling into deep 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
4. Gently roll out puff pastry sheet to size of baking dish on lightly floured work surface. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and chill 30 minutes.
5. Place chilled puff pastry sheet over filling on top of baking dish, and press around edges to seal. Use tip of sharp paring knife to score 4 rows of diagonal incisions into puff pastry (without cutting completely through), alternating directions with each row.
6. Bake 30 minutes, or until top crust is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

October 10th, 2013

These past few at Sugar Creek Farm have been blur. Everyday I feel like trellises disappear and things are magically planted in their place. Deconstruction of summer happened fast this year and now we are full force into our fall season.

I really love the fall, due to the vast amount of delicious greens and the cooler weather but also because the farm agenda changes drastically. For the most part everything is planted for the rest of the year. We will either pull up a crop for market or the crop will be overwintered and will be harvested in the early spring. This makes my life easier, no longer are we worried about seeding trays and transplanting every other day. Instead we focus on the maintenance, deconstruction and overall getting the farm ready for the winter.

The only part of the week that has seems to keep consistent is the sweet potato harvest. Every Monday Natalie and I will cut a row of sweet potato greens off, and haul them off to the birds for a snack. Then we run the potato plow through and the sweet potatoes get brought up. We cure the sweet potatoes in our greenhouse. Sweet potatoes need to cure in a hot and humid environment with good air circulation in order for their starches to turn into sugars. This year we primarily grew a variety called Covington and they are delicious. Jeff came today to show us that he has made a few sweet potato pies in honor of our farm day event and I can’t wait for Saturday to dig into some pies!

Have a great weekend,
Ann and the Sugar Creek Crew

Sweet Potato Latkes with Ginger and Sesame via: http://www.bluekaleroad.com/2012/12/sweet-potato-latkes-with-ginger-and.html

Makes 14 - 2 1/2 inch latkes

2 medium sized, orange fleshed sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed
4 green onions (including the white parts), finely chopped
2 heaping tablespoons freshly grated ginger (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Canola oil for frying

Using a box grater, grate the potatoes (I leave the peels on) into a large mixing bowl. Add the green onions, grated ginger, sesame seeds, flour and salt. Lightly toss with your fingers to mix. Pour in the eggs and use a wooden spoon to stir together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a large frying pan, pour about 1/2 inch oil in and heat over medium-high heat. With a large tablespoon, gently place scoops of the potato mixture in the hot oil (the patties should measure about 2 1/2 inches across). Do not crowd the pan. Let the latkes cook for a few minutes until nicely browned before trying to flip (if you try to flip too soon, they will tear and stick to the bottom). When the edge of the latke lifts easily, gently flip it over (be careful for splatters). Fry on the other side until golden brown and crispy.

Remove the latkes to the lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat the latke frying until potato mixture is used up. Adjust the heat as needed (may have to lower a bit if the oil gets too hot and edges start to burn a bit) and add additional oil as needed. Let the latkes drain, and then move them to a platter to serve.

If you are making the latkes ahead of time, store them on paper towels at room temperature and then rewarm on a baking sheet before serving.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes via: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/grilled_sweet_potatoes/

2 pounds sweet potatoes
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (including tender stems)
1 teaspoon of lime zest or lemon zest
2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 Prepare your grill for hot, direct heat. While the grill is heating up, peel the sweet potatoes and slice lengthwise, or on a diagonal, into 1/4 inch-thick pieces. Coat the sweet potato slices with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt.
2 Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl.
3 Once the grill is hot, lay the sweet potato pieces down onto the grill grates. Cover the grill and cook until each side gets some grill marks, between 3-6 minutes for each side, depending on how hot your grill is.
4 Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl with the dressing and serve hot.

October 4th, 2013

We are hopeful that this newsletter will make it to you on time. Last Thursday we lost our internet connection at the farm and we felt sure it would be restored by Friday morning. After a visit by the nice folks at Yadtel they determined that the underground fiber optic cable had been cut. Further troubleshooting revealed that the broken cable was somewhere along the driveway. In a typical residence, driveways are maybe a hundred feet or so. Well at Sugar Creek, the driveway is over 1/2 mile long!! The Yadtel folks didn't find any disturbed soil but they ultimately found an area of soft soil where a groundhog lives. It turns out groundhogs like a tasty snack of fiber optic cable! Yadtel had to dig up the chewed cable, repair it, and then bury it in a way less friendly to a groundhog. Fortunately, our internet was restored late Friday afternoon!

On Tuesday, I was at home preparing some tax info and the internet connection went out again. When it didn't come back in a few minutes, I had a feeling of déjà vu. My gut feeling turned out to be correct and we got to see our friends at Yadtel again on Tuesday. After repairing the connection for a second time, we were back in business. Efforts are currently underway to relocate the groundhog away from Sugar Creek.

Another strange group of pests have also started showing up in very large numbers: stink bugs. The brown marmorated stink bug first arrived in the United States in 1995. It is believed these initial bugs were onboard a shipping container that arrived in Pennsylvania. In less than 20 years they have made their way to 36 states and have become a severe nuisance in the Mid-Atlantic region including North Carolina. For some odd reason, their population has exploded this fall. In the afternoons, they concentrate by the thousands on the side of my house and also the barn. Every time you walk through a door at least 2 or 3 enter the house. Fortunately, the stink bugs are not an agricultural problem to our fall crops. So if I had to choose the lesser of two evils, I guess I would prefer a large infestation on the outside of my house compared to an infestation that wipes out the fall crops. Besides, if you close your eyes and open your nose, the brown marmorated stink bug smells a bit like cilantro!

Enjoy your produce,
Jeff and the Sugar Creek Crew

Sauteed Okra from NY Times


1 pound fresh, unblemished small okra
2 tablespoons olive oil
Red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Trim the stems off the ends of the okra, taking care not to cut into the interior of the pods.
2) Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat and allow it to heat until almost smoking. Add the okra and red-pepper flakes to taste. Sauté until the pods have softened slightly, but are still crisp and brightly colored, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic Sweet Potatoe Mash from Skinny Taste


    2 lbs (4 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
    1 tbsp butter
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 cup 1% milk
    2 tbsp light sour cream
    salt and fresh cracked ground pepper, to taste


1) In a large pot boil sweet potatoes in salted water until tender, drain in a colander.
2) Meanwhile, melt butter and sauté garlic until lightly golden. Return potatoes to the pan, add milk and sour cream; mash until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.