Tag Archives: CSA

On the Menu… Caprese Salad Bites & Farm to Fork Field Trip

We may be sweltering in the humid deep South but we’re eating like the locals on the sunny, windswept Isle of Capri, enjoying the island’s signature salad of basil, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella: Insalata Caprese.

Our lovely sugar sweet, pink-fleshed German Lunchbox tomatoes make charming little Caprese salad bites. This heirloom variety offers heavy yields of firm, egg-sized tomatoes, perfect for snacking, salads, or tucking into lunchboxes.

Only available commercially since 2006, German Lunchbox seeds were carefully saved by a Missouri man whose family brought the variety with them upon immigrating from Germany.

And so Italy and Germany join forces to create this adorable, tasty summer appetizer…

German Lunchbox Caprese Salad Bites

German Lunchbox tomatoes, halved
Basil leaves, cut into strips
Fresh mozzarella, bite-sized pieces
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Top tomato halves with cheese and basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. A smidge of white balsamic reduction here would be lovely, but is optional.


Farm to Fork Field Trip

University of Mississippi Rebel Quest kids enjoyed a day on the farm, complete with potato digging, hanging out with the chickens, and a farm to fork lunch prepared by Chef Joel Miller of Ravine using Yokna Bottoms veggies and chicken from Zion Farm in Pontotoc:

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Oodles of Noodles: Funtastic Chinese Noodle Beans!

Just as everyone’s figured what the heck to do with kolhrabi, we’ve added another unusual but delicious vegetable to the market table: Chinese Noodle Beans!

These long, skinny whip-like beans are vigorous growers prized for their firm texture and rich, complex flavor – sweet and earthy.

We’ll have both green and red varieties and unlike most burgundy hued beans, the Chinese Red retain their lovely color after cooking.

These incredible 18 inch long wonders are perfect for steaming, grilling, adding to your favorite salad, and stir-frying.

Betsy’s Noodle Bean Shiitake Stir-Fry
Mr. Brown has delicious local shiitake mushrooms – pick some up at OXCM and Mid-Town and tell him we sent you!

1 bunch Chinese Noodle beans, ends snapped
8 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, woody stems removed
1 TBS. sesame oil
1 jalapeno, diced
1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 TBS. ginger, grated
Dash of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar

Get your biggest wok or skillet hot, toss in sesame oil, onions, pepper, and beans. Cook til tender but crisp. Remove from pan, drizzle in a bit more oil and add mushrooms. Cook til they’re lightly browned. Add beans, ginger, garlic, dash of soy sauce and rice vinegar and cook just a minute or two more. Serve with red quinoa or jasmine rice and Sriracha.


Farm Talk

Farmer Betsy’s visit to Studio Whimzy’s Healthy You Creation Camp:

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Patriotic Potatoes: Happy 4th of July!

Cookouts, parades, fireworks, and potato salad – as American as apple pie!

We hope you’re putting your Yokna Bottoms RED, WHITE, & BLUE potatoes to good use this 4th of July. Our patriotic potatoes are delicious, sustainably grown , and perfect for your Independence Day celebration!

Try this recipe for United “Tates” of America!

If you haven’t tried them yet. pick some up this Saturday morning at Mid-Town Market from 7-11 a.m.


Summer Lovin’

Tomatoes. Squash, & Eggplant


Summer Squash & Eggplant Bake

When it comes to summer farmers market veggies, the the eyes are indeed often bigger than the stomach…And occasionally people (um, me) come home from market with armloads of delicious summer goodies having forgotten that they (again, me) are leaving town the next day…A troubling, albeit delicious conundrum…Needless to say, I just had a really big dinner:

Summer Squash & Eggplant Bake
Sauteed Balsamic Green Beans
Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Sliced Cucumbers
Peaches, Berries & Cantaloupe

Try this easy, light casserole showcasing Yokna Bottoms squash, eggplant, and tomatoes:

Summer Squash & Eggplant Bake

2 lbs. eggplant, sliced*
2 lbs. summer squash, sliced*
3 medium tomatoes, sliced*
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced*
3 cloves garlic
Fresh oregano*
Fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
*available at market this week

Salt eggplant and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse and drain. Drizzle a little oil in the bottoms of a good-sized casserole dish. Layer slices of eggplant and squash in dish, drizzling with a little oil, sprinkling salt and pepper, and tossing in onions and garlic as you layer. Top with tomato slices and herbs.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for about 35 minutes. You could top with some homemade bread crumbs and/or a little cheese if you’d like.

-Betsy

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Po-ta-to, Po-tah-to…

Potato planting has commenced at Yokna Bottoms Farm!

Cool, dry, blue skies…couldn’t have been a more lovely day to tuck seed potatoes into the soft, dark bottomland soil…As farmers and aesthetes, we couldn’t help but take a few minutes away from planting to photograph these downright beautiful spuds:


Mountain Rose, Yukon Gold, & Purple Majesty

We’ve got 1,000 lbs. of seed potatoes going into the ground and are expecting to harvest in about 110 days, somewhere around the middle of June, maybe a little earlier. Be on the lookout for these interesting and tasty varieties:

Red Lasoda - “Beautiful smooth red skin with pure white flesh. Known as the best storing red potato, will keep for months.”

Yukon Gold - “Thin, smooth eye free skin and buttery, yellow tinged flesh.”

Rio Grande - “Not your average russet, Rio Grande has elevated levels of antioxidants along with exceptionally high yields and well above average storage qualities.”

Mountain Rose - “Gorgeous, rosy-skinned and fleshed tubers, these versatile, all-purpose spuds are deliciously moist but not waxy textured. Mountain Rose is extra nutritious and high in antioxidants.”

Purple Majesty - “These ever-so-delicious potatoes are purple through and through—with wine-dark skins and succulent purple flesh.”

French Fingerling - “A petite, sleek and slender heirloom potato. Its rose colored skin is thin and smooth. Its flesh, creamy yellow and splashed with pink, is succulent, firm and waxy. Thin delicate skin doesn’t need to be peeled. It has a robust, nutty, earthy and buttery flavor when cooked.”

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A Spring in Our Step: Cold Hardy Kale and Collards in the Ground

It’s gonna be a delicious spring! Tuesday’s clear, blue skies and sunshine had us itching to get some of our most cold hardy plants in the ground. We spent the afternoon down in the field, elbow deep in loamy soil, planting dozens of tiny Siberian kale, Champion collards, and assorted mustards. Won’t be long before these babies are on your dinner table! Our 2014 CSA distributions start in April and we’re doing everything we can to prepare for a successful spring. If you haven’t signed up yet, now’s the time to secure your spot. Click here for more info or call Yokna Bottoms Farm hotline operator, Farmer Betsy, at 662-380-2367!


Culture Club Fermentation on Wheels Comes to Yokna Bottoms! Gaining Ground Hill Country Chapter Sustainabilty Speaker Series/Vegetarian Potluck: Fermentation on Wheels 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 Yokna Bottoms Farm 26 CR 471 Oxford Bring the family and a vegetarian dish to share! What do miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and Tabasco sauce have in common? They’re all members of the Culture Club, fermented foods that are produced or preserved by microorganisms. Gross, right? No! Fermented foods offer tons of health benefits and are easy to make. Enter Fermentation on Wheels: Fermentation on Wheels is a community of gastronomic nomads focused on providing free food education across the United States. Our community has converted a school bus to house a fully equipped kitchen and workshop space powered by solar. Fermentation on Wheels is now traveling across the country to harvest produce alongside small-scale farmers, and hold workshops on the importance of fermentation and micro-agriculture. We want to give people the tools to consume foods more thoughtfully and also provide communities with a direct line to their local food source. By traveling the country, visiting farmers, and connecting farmers with consumers, we hope to make a powerful statement and encourage the importance of strong, sustainable food practices and values.

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The Land, Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm

Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm is located at 26 CR 471 eight miles south of Oxford, five miles east of Taylor, and four miles west and across the Yocona River from the village of Yocona. The property is 18.86 acres and is essentially a rectangle with a pointed end (south) with a one acre section cut out of the corner (southeast) for a home site. The land includes approximately 12 acres (the north portion of the property) of bottom land on the Yocona River floodplain and 7 acres of grass pasture that slopes about 30’ from the flood plain up to CR 471. The property lines on the east and west sides of the property run due north. The transition zone between the bottoms and the pasture contains a small livestock pond (approximately 60’ x 30’) and a grove of about ten mature Red Oak trees next to the pond. An intermittent (late fall—spring) stream flows diagonally across the property (northeast to southwest) and is lined with medium-sized Cypress trees and assorted other hardwoods. CR 471 is also known as Belle River Road and up until the early 1960’s, it was the old Highway 7 between Oxford and Bruce. The Yocona River is ¼ mile north of the property and the iron remains of the old Highway 7 Bridge are still on the banks of the river. On the other side of the river, the old Highway 7 is now CR 403 and after crossing the current Highway 7, eventually becomes Lamar Street in Oxford. The property is approximately 600’ (north and south line) x 2200’ (west line), 2000’ (east line). Our neighbor across the road grew up living on the property (the elevated foundation of her childhood home is still visible at the entrance to the farm) and reports that her father had one of the largest and most successful farms in Lafayette County growin Cotton, Corn, Soybeans, Watermelons, Sweet Potatoes, and other assorted vegetables. She also reports that this is the best pasture and farm land in the county. Recently, my neighbor who lives in a cutout section of the property, James ….., raised cattle on the land for 15 years up until 2004. In 2004, James got out of the cattle business and the bottom land was placed in the Federal government’s Crop Reduction Program (CRP). Under the CRP, the bottom land was cleared (except for the grove of oaks and the banks of the stream) and 12 acres of pine trees were planted. When I purchased the land in 2007, I elected not to enroll in the CRP, meaning I am under no obligation to the program and am free to do as please with the pine trees.

My Stewardship of the Land

I purchased the land in October 2007 from Bill McGregor (local resident, business owner, and President of our local rural water association—Anchor Water Association) as a home site. In the spirit of Wendell Berry, I spent considerable time walking and sitting in the land to learn from it. My guiding principle was to leave it alone and do no harm. In the spring of 2008, based on the book “Yocona Puff Adder” by Gerald Inmon, I removed about 95% of approximately three acres of the planted pine trees between the stream and the edge of the pasture. Inmon is a retired forester from Taylor who penned an amazing novel of the lives of two boys/men who grew up in Taylor. Inmon includes in the novel detailed descriptions of the native flora, fauna and ecological systems along the Yocona River, and the damage done to this environment by man through agriculture and flood control (the dredging of the river by the US Army Corps of Engineers from a meandering river with deep, clear, slow moving water full of beaver dams, to a strait, fast flowing, muddy stream dumping into Enid Reservoir). Inmon also laments and is highly critical of the large-scale replacement and destruction of native hardwood trees with the planting of pine trees – especially in the river bottoms draining from the hill country into the delta. Thus, the purpose of my removal of the pine trees was both aesthetic and a desire to allow an area for native hardwoods to grow and natural wildlife habitat to emerge. Other than the construction and maintenance of some walking trails and possibly the removal of some of the blackberry brambles that are taking over, my long term plan is to disturb these 3-4 acres as little as possible. Over the past several months, we have been working on a network of scenic and functional trails that when complete, will provide easy access to most of the property.

In August 2008, construction began on my home. I spent six months selecting the home site. One of my guiding goals was to disturb (and remove from productivity) as little land as possible. I ended up locating the house on the far southeast portion of the property, 75’ from the road. The site is the highest point on the property and provided easy and inexpensive access to water, electricity, and phone service. The road (CR 471) drops steeply off above the house site making a gate at that location impractical; thus, I used the existing gate at the southwest corner of the property. I also decided (a strange decision to my builder and others familiar with common construction practices) to place the front of the house facing north (away from the county road—thus, to many, I built my house backwards); nonetheless, I wanted the house to face out onto the property. Because of this, I built a gravel road that takes a hard right after the gate, proceeds about 300’ along the south fence-line and then takes a hard left to circle around to the front of the house. The road ends with a two car garage/loft and parking space for additional 6 vehicles. The garage and house are surrounded with a 5’ high, 120’x120’ post and rail/wire fence. The area inside the fence is landscaped garden (no grass) including six 4’x8’ raised vegetable boxes (eight more will be added soon).  The result was that less than an acre of land was used for construction of the house, garage, yard, parking and road.

Currently, my immediate neighbor to the west, John Levy, is cutting and bailing the remaining 6 acres of pasture for his horses. Last spring, I planted three Pecan trees, a Cherry tree, and Magnolia tree spaced at 50’ intervals along the east side of the pasture. These trees are a long term project but the Pecans should start producing in 8-10 years. I don’t expect the Cherry Tree to produce but I do like Cherry Trees. Last spring, I planted 5 Blueberry bushes inside of the year fence but plan to add many more along the road this spring. Long-range plans include fencing sections of the pasture for animals—we will not likely raise animals for consumption as part of the CSA; but, we may keep and raise animals eventually.

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Why a CSA?

Why a CSA Farm?

Because of the ice, I am staying home today and sitting by the fire. I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss the reasons why I am starting an organic Community Supported Agriculture Farm.

I moved to Mississippi from Atlanta in the fall of 2007 to teach at the University of Mississippi. While I loved living in Atlanta and gardening at my suburban home (see photos), I soon discovered that the rural lifestyle of Lafayette County suited me well.

When I came to Oxford, I knew that I wanted to find some property to build a home on. In order to get settled into my new job at the university, sell my home in Atlanta, and find the right property, I decided to move into a temporary residence. For 18 months, I rented and lived in a small cabin behind the home of local painter, Robert Malone, in the artists’ community of Taylor, Mississippi, 6 miles south of Oxford. In October of 2007, I found and purchased the 19 acres that is now Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm. In August 2008, Bill Todd Construction (highly, highly recommended) began work on my home. I found the plans for a 1900 square foot, three bedroom, 3 bath home with a 360 degree wrap-around porch. Bill Todd and I also designed (and Bill built) a garage with a 600′ apartment loft with a 6′ x 18′ deck. The home was built to maximize energy efficiency and includes supplemental wood heating (a fire place with a blower) and a south-southeast exposure to maximize solar energy. The home was built with reclaimed brick and heartpine beams, includes a metal roof, Hardyplank siding, tankless water heaters, a skylight, and sewage treatment system.

From the beginning, I have planned to use the land for food production. The reason I built the loft was to have a living space for a “farm manager.” My biggest problem is that I work 60+ hours a week at the university and having someone manage the farm is essential. Fortunately, last October (2009) Daniel and Alison Doyle, along with their newborn baby, Sophia, agreed to take on the role. What they lack in experience, they make up for in enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and work ethic. Without going in to too much detail about CSA’s other than to say that I experienced them (and their incredible produce) in Atlanta through various farmers’ markets and the organization Georgia Organics http://www.georgiaorganics.org , a CSA is a perfect model for utilizing the land for food production. This is not a money making endevour for me; rather, my only goal is to support local food production, encourage sustainable agricultural practices, and to provide a center for community agricultural, educational, and artistic activity.

Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm is is a cooperative CSA. In others words, while we will sell “shares” to provide capital for the farm operations, our primary desire is that members earn shares through volunteering to work on the farm (more on this later) and/or providing much needed resources (loaning or donating a tractor, fencing material, manure, compost).

Our current plan is to devote 50% of all produce to sell at (and support) local Farmers Markets in Taylor, Oxford, and Water Valley. The proceeds from the sale of this produce will be used to finance farm operations. The remaining 50% will be divided into equal shares to be distributed to the members. The intial offering of the farm will be capped at 50 shares; however, the number of actual shares will determine the level of our initial plantings (my plan is to make a per share list of everything we plant–for example: for each share we might plant 5 tomato plants, 5 pepper plants, 2 of several different types of squash, 1 cucumber plant, 10 bean pants, etc.). My current thinking (subject to discussion and modification) is that one share will cost 25 volunteer hours, or $250.

More to come …

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Informational Meeting!

Come out and learn more about Community Supported Agriculture, take a walking tour of the property or show your support for sustainable farming practices on Friday, February 12th between 4:00-6:00 PM.

A walking tour will be given at 4:30 followed by a brief presentation – however, you are more than welcomed to come at any time to talk or walk around on your own.

We’re excited to get things going and have a lot of projects lined up for this growing season! Tell all those you think may be interested and we hope to see you out at Yokna Bottoms soon!

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