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.

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