Farm News

Posted 9/24/2011 8:29pm by Trent Thompson.

Food Dance at 401 E. Michigan Ave in Kalamazoo has been our biggest buyer of tomatoes this year at the Kalamazoo Bank Street Market, many weeks ordering 40-120 LBS of tomatoes.

We are super grateful for their commitment to supporting local growers like us!

For their harvest dinner last month at Food Dance, (Chef Robb) Hammond naturally created a dish for the dinner that used tomatoes because, “the tomatoes are brilliant this year,” he said. “The hot weather has made them sweet, intensified their sugars. It was the best year for tomatoes you’ll ever get.” See Gazette article.

From a local food blog review, we found one of Robb's beautiful creations with our tomatoes...

"My sister-in-law went a more healthier route with the tomato pyramid, a stack of local tomatoes with roasted poblanos, farm-fresh black beans, avocado, tomatillo, melon and cilantro juice."

Tomato Pyramid

Posted 9/24/2011 8:14pm by Trent Thompson.
Good Morning, All:

We hope you are enjoying another beautiful weekend here in West Michigan!

The farm did get a very light frost on Friday morning, but all frost-sensitive crops were covered and are OK! Yes, summer flavors can last a little longer! This frost was about three weeks earlier than normal. Sheets of Agribon (protective sheet-like material) cover large portions of the farm again, which doesn't help the farm aesthetics but keeps the produce coming.

We had a record tomato harvest on Thursday, pulling in between 1500 and 1800 LBS of tomatoes. We were too tired to weight them all exactly at the end of the day. Our living room was full of 48 totes on Thursday and Friday...quite a sight. We sold some at market, but we still have over several hundred pounds left. So, this can only mean one thing: it's tomato canning time! If you need a bushel or 1/2 bushel of tomatoes, please let us know. You can purchase them through the online farm stand today or tomorrow morning and pick them up at the farm on Monday night (4-7 PM). Also, if you are a CSA member and pick up in Battle Creek on WED, we would be happy to drop off a 1/2 bushel or bushel with your name on it to your pick-up site.

In other non-tomato news, our baby greens are back! Arugula and salad mix were a big hit this weekend at the markets. They will be available at the online stand, in CSA boxes, and at markets more frequently, especially once we hit October.

The online farm stand is open today and tomorrow morning! Get your bushel of tomatoes, your baby and cooking greens, roots, pac choi (see recipe of the week) CSA sampler box, and more by ordering online. It's simple and ready for you when you arrive at the farm.

Don't forget the Harvest Festival is today in Scotts. And, next weekend a harvest festival is at Circle Pines in Delton. Here are the details...

HARVEST FESTIVAL (SEPT. 23-25): Join us at Circle Pines Center (Delton, MI) in celebrating fresh food, sustainable agriculture, and locally-sourced meals. We'll be welcoming the fall by learning ways to preserve our harvest through short workshops in canning, dehydration, and cooking. Other activities will include: making scarecrows, baking bread, and putting the garden to rest for the season. We'll also be discussing and exploring ideas surrounding the slow food movement and will hear from Food and Water Watch, a national advocacy group working on a Fair Farms Campaign. You can just come for the day, or stay the whole weekend. We provide lodging, as well as delicious, homemade and locally-sourced meals. Register today by calling the office at 269.623.5555 or emailing: rachelz@circlepinescenter.net.

And, Barn Bash at the farm is Sunday, October 2, 2 PM at the farm. Details provided here. RSVP to ruthie@greengardensfarm.com only if you CAN come. Thanks.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Happy, healthy, and tasty eating!

Trent and Ruthie


Below, bushels from prior years. This year's tomatoes are not this big, but still tasty!


Posted 9/18/2011 8:38am by Trent Thompson.

 

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

Sometimes the simplest things are the most enjoyable. My mother whipped up this quick and easy baby bok choy dish the other night. It was so good I made her make it again the next day so I could watch with pad and pen in hand. This is hard on mom actually, as she never makes anything the same way twice, and she never measures (obviously not a baker). I make her weigh things. "How much bok choy is that mom?" She looks at me as if I've just asked her how many miles there are to the moon. I get the kitchen scale down from the cabinet. Why cashews? Because that's what we had on hand. Almonds would work too. If you want you could jazz it up a bit with a little freshly grated ginger and a shake of chili pepper flakes.

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Baby Bok Choy with Cashews Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed, larger leaves separated from base, base trimmed but still present, holding the smaller leaves together
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted, salted cashews

Method

baby-bok-choy-cash-1.jpg baby-bok-choy-cash-2.jpg

1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add onions, then garlic, then bok choy. Sprinkle with sesame oil and salt. Cover, and let the baby bok choy cook down for approximately 3 minutes. (Like spinach, when cooked, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

2 Remove cover. Lower heat to low. Stir and let cook for a minute or two longer, until the bok choy is just cooked.

3 Gently mix in cashews.

Serves 4.

Posted 9/18/2011 8:36am by Trent Thompson.
Greetings Fellow Green Gardens Friends,

The Fourth Annual Green Gardens' Barn Bash will happen this year! Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 2 at 2PM here at the farm. This year's musical group is The Professors, a local group who play "old country tunes and mellow folky/singer/song writer" tunes. We'll also once again have a grand potluck!

All we ask is that you...
  • RSVP to Ruthie [just respond to this email] by Tuesday, September 27 only if you plan on attending and how many will be in your party
  • Bring a dish to pass, using farm or local ingredients when possible. The farm will supply plates, cups, napkins, and silverware
  • Make a suggested donation of $10 to help the farm cover the cost of the band and other supplies
This is a great chance to come visit the farm, mingle with other Green Gardens supporters, and see where your delicious produce is grown!

We hope you can join us for an afternoon of amazing food and lots of farm fun!

Best,
Trent & Ruthie



Posted 9/14/2011 3:01pm by Trent Thompson.

In fall it is mushrooms
gathered from dampness
under the pines;
in spring I have known
the taste of the lamb
full of milk and spring grass;
today it is beans green and yellow
and lettuce and basil from my friends'garden-
how calmly, as though it were an ordinary thing,
we eat the blessed earth.

Posted 9/11/2011 9:52am by Trent Thompson.
Greetings, All:

We hope that you are having a splendid weekend, enjoying this beautiful weather.

Our harvest schedule remains busy this week with summer crops still going strong and fall crops beginning to come in. Our baby greens will be making a comeback in the next week or two and continuing on late into the fall. Many people seem to be anxiously awaiting their return!

The online farm stand will continue this week, but pick-up is on Tuesday night this week, not Monday night (as usual). There is an interesting workshop at the MSU Student Organic Farm on winter hoophouse production that we will be attending on Monday. There continues to be lots of tasty produce to choose from: beans, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, basil, cilantro, radishes, kale, collards, swiss chard, eggplant, flowers, CSA box sampler, and more! Order now for the best selection. Again, pick-up is on Tuesday night (4:00-7:30 PM at the farm) this week. Order 'til 10 AM Monday morning.

We also want everyone to know of the 9th Annual SW Michigan Community Harvest Festival at Tillers International in Scotts on Sunday, September 18 from 11:30-6:30 PM. It's a fun festival that celebrates and informs about local food availability and sustainable living. More information provided here at the festival's webpage.

Alright, well, we are headed back out to the field. We've got a busy day of weeding, renovating the high tunnel (field greenhouse) to prepare the ground for planting spinach, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, kale, pac choi for late fall harvest, and bean picking.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and happy eating!

Trent & Ruthie

Photo below of our glorious chard. We discovered a new recipe this year for chard quesadillas that is fantastic and super easy. It's been a big hit with farmers market customers and many CSA Members. Here it is.



Posted 9/11/2011 9:29am by Trent Thompson.

Chard Quesadilla

 

1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed                                                Tortillas

½ Cup chopped onion                                                               Cheese, such as Cheddar

¼ - ½ tsp turmeric                                                                   ¼ - ½ can of refried beans

¼ tsp chili powder [or cayenne if you like heat]

3-4 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream

 

  1. Put beans in a small pot, add enough water to stir easily, and turn heat to low
  2. Chop chard stems into small pieces; cut leaves lengthwise, then into strips
  3. Heat oil in skillet on medium, then add onions and chard stems; sauté for 3-5 minutes
  4. Add leaves, turmeric, and chili powder/cayenne; stir until chard wilts
  5. Heat another skillet to medium low [this is for crisping the assembled quesadilla]
  6. Remove chard from heat and add yogurt/sour cream; mix
  7. On half of a tortilla, spread a layer of warmed beans, grate a thin layer of cheese, spread a layer of chard mixture then grate a little more cheese
  8. Place on warmed skillet [melt butter before if desired] and fold top over; when bottom browns lightly [2-3 minutes], flip over and lightly brown other side
  9. Remove from heat and cut into segments

 

Note: can cook chicken pieces in cumin, turmeric, and some olive oil, then add to chard mixture

Posted 9/4/2011 10:38pm by Trent Thompson.
Greetings, All!

One day it's summer, the next fall. Things change as quickly as the weather around the farm as we shift gears and begin to move towards fall crops. The summer heat on Thursday and Friday gave our tomatoes another big boost. We had our biggest harvest week ever for tomatoes last week, picking over 1600 LBS of beautiful fruit. This was a welcome change from last year's failed crop. We learned a few important growing tips this past winter at a growers conference in Grand Rapids and those have paid off mightily. The great writer, Kurt Vonnegut, was spot on when he said, "New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth, the more truth we have to work with, the richer we become."

Yesterday after market while picking beans, we noticed the big walnut tree on the farm beginning to shed some yellow leaves. The shorter days force us to make the most of our time working outside, and help us get the sleep we need. Fall is getting closer, it's time to slow down, Mother Nature tells us.

The online farm stand is open! Pick-up is on Monday or Tuesday (due to Labor Day) from 4:00-7:30 PM at the farm. Lots of produce to choose from: potatoes, heirloom and super sweet cherry tomatoes, new girl and orange tomatoes, basil, garlic, beans, eggplant, kale, swiss chard, mustards, collards, flowers, free-range eggs, half-bushels of tomatoes for canning or try a CSA box! Order now for the best selection, or until Monday at 10 AM. Let us know if you want to try new veggies out and need recipes!

We want to mention our support from local restaurants that place a value on supporting the farm and other local food producers: Rustica, Food Dance, Webster's Prime, Zazios, and Malia.

We are very excited about our new relationship with Malia (at 34 West Michigan in Battle Creek). Thanks to chef Jeff Samson for his support and eagerness to source food locally. It's true, Downtown BC is a mess, but ample parking is available behind the restaurant on State Street. Call ahead (269-441-2900) for reservations. They are busy!

Thanks, too, to all of our CSA members for their continued support. And, to our incredible farmers market customers this week in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. We hope to continue all three markets through October, and then the Kalamazoo Market until the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Have a fantastic week!

Trent & Ruthie

Photo below of last Friday night's flower harvest. Headlamps on our truck and our heads are not uncommonly used this time of year as we try to get every last bit of the harvest in before market. Eighty to ninety-hour work weeks have been standard for the past couple months. We're lucky we don't have kids, and if we look tired, it's because we probably are!

picking flowers in the dark

Green Gardens Farm on Facebook - market updates, recipes, photos, and other food-related folks/farms we know and like
Posted 8/28/2011 9:57am by Trent Thompson.
Greetings, All:

What a glorious Sunday we have in store for us today! The farmers markets in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek were bustling yesterday. A big thank you to all those that came out to show your support.

This past week we were the fortunate hosts to 10 Sprout Urban Farms interns for three days. These interns (called GreenFisters) helped us whip the farm into shape before Fall set in. Having 10 extra pairs of hands on the farm took a little time getting used to. Jobs that normally took an hour, took 10 minutes. Of course, we never run out of things to do here on the farm, so we managed to keep them busy their entire time here. The GreenFisters helped rip out tomato plants from the high tunnel, weeded several crops, ripped up plastic mulch, harvested tomatoes, beets, carrots, beans, onions, peppers, and eggplant, cleaned the outbuilding, seeded spinach, washed totes, moved irrigation lines, washed carrots (photo below) and beets, and more! They learned quite a bit about small-scale agriculture. We managed to squeeze in a couple demos of bed preparation with the tractor and how to use a flame weeder. So, we had a really productive and fun time with these interns. We wish them the best as they move on with their lives and finish high school, start college, and continue on pursuing their interests.

Thank you to the Kellogg Foundation for providing the $57K grant to employ up to 21 GreenFist interns this summer. They have been working hard on several projects (see Enquirer story) in local community gardens and expanding access to fresh foods in convenience stores. An exciting new project of Sprout includes the use of a portable fresh food trailer that would be driven into and around areas of Battle Creek in need of fresh produce.

In farm news, the online farm stand continues today and tomorrow (until 10 AM). Lots of great produce to choose from: carrots, tomatoes, garlic, beans, greens, eggplant, pesto special, CSA box sampler, flowers and more! Pick-up at the farm on Monday night (4-7:30 PM). It's fresh and ready to go when you arrive!

Our fall roots, kale, chard, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, leeks, salad mix, arugula, peas, asian greens and more all look fantastic. This fall looks to be our best ever! We are also gearing up for more planting in the high tunnel to extend the season into late November/early December with salad mix, kale, spinach, chard, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, and turnips.

Thanks again for your support! We hope you have a wonderful week.

Trent & Ruthie

Find the farm on Facebook for more pictures, info, and recipes!

Brittany of Sprout Urban Farms washing a bunch of carrots for the CSA boxes on Tuesday:






Posted 8/20/2011 5:28pm by Trent Thompson.
Good Morning, All:

We hope you are having a great weekend! It's August, but we've noticed hints of Fall this past week. The cooler temperatures were welcome news for our fall brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, collards) which really took off yesterday after the rain. We've begun to seed many Fall crops again including turnips and radishes. We even sowed some fall peas, which we have had poor success with germination in the past (due to heat), but are hopeful that the cooler temps will be helpful. Salad mix and arugula will be seeded soon for mid-September harvests, and we will transplant pac choi, japanese spinach, kohlrabi, and mustards this week.

Our harvests on the farm are still very summery. Tomatoes, beans, potatoes, onions, basil, squash, and peppers make up the majority of our harvest for CSA and farmers markets. Our chard, kale, and collards are still hanging in there. We are now doing three markets each week. Battle Creek on Wednesday (9-1 PM) and Saturday (9-1 PM) across from Kellogg Headquarters (Downtown) and Kalamazoo Bank Street on Saturday (7-1 PM).

The online farm stand will continue operating this week! There are lots of great delights to choose from: CSA Box Sampler, pesto special, Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, sweet Walla Walla onions, Brandy Boy Tomatoes, Nicola Potatoes, which have the lowest glycemic index of any potato (for diabetics), and more! We've extended the pick-up window to 4:00-7:30 PM on Monday here at the farm to accomodate the increased traffic we've seen in recent weeks.

Once again, we are grateful for your support and hope to see you soon.

Have a great week!

Trent and Ruthie

zinnia

Zinnia photo above from farm in 2009 (courtesy of Cathy Johnson)