Cooking--Farming--Thinking

Eat--Work--Ponder
Posted 4/4/2019 1:38pm by Harland;s Creek Farm.

This winter, Harland's Creek Farm researched ways to move away from plastic packaging. Judy read numerous articles and talked to Rhonda Sherman, NC State Solid Waste specialist. We learned we should avoid items that are merely biodegradable but not compostable because biodegradable can mean the material is a composite of plastic and plant material. The plant material degrades in sunlight, but tiny pieces of plastic remain. What is needed are materials that are ultimately converted into water and CO2 by bacteria, that is, we want something that bacteria can consume in its entirety.

First, we got excited about various certified-compostable bags. However, there was a catch. These bags are guaranteed compostable at industrial composting facilities. They cannot be put into the waste stream that ends at the landfill because they will end up in an anaerobic environment, (read no bacteria operating). For them to breakdown, Certified-compostable must enter a waste stream that ends at an industrial composting facility.

No problem, we decided, we will have the customer return their bags, and we will take them to the local industrial composting facility. Judy called, and the facility refused to take them saying they only served customers for whom the compostable bags are mixed with a large volume of other compostable waste.

These biobags, as they are called, are broken down by thermophilic bacteria that thrive at temperatures 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Several of Judy's friends, however, told her they tossed biobags full of kitchen waste in their home compost pile and they eventually disappeared. Not being industrial composters, these friends had no idea of how long it took or what the temperature inside their pile was. "Maybe three months," one said.  

We are now testing composting biobags on our farm monitoring the time and temperature of the pile. So far we were able to get the temperature up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit on a cold day. If we are successful, these bags may become an option in the future, but not now.

Then we discovered glassine bags, which are used in the baking industry. They are made of polished paper and are translucent. They are recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable in a home compost pile. We have decided to use these for our small, leafy greens.

So here is our new bottom line policy: So here is our new bottom line policy:

  • Large-leafed greens, as well as beets, carrots, and so on, will be bunched using paper twist-ties. The paper in the twist-ties composts quickly in a home compost pile, and the thin wire rusts quickly. Twist ties can be reused by the customer.
  • Tender greens, such as head lettuce, will be packed in trimmed paper bags so you can see the product. Things like okra, green beans, eggplant, potatoes, squash, etc. will be displayed at market in containers we take home and reuse. If the customer does not have their own bag to put these in, we will put them in paper bags for transport. These can to in the regular waste stream, be reused by the customer, and will quickly break down in your home compost pile.
  • Small-leafed greens, such as spinach, arugula, salad mix, baby greens, will be packed in glassine bags.
  • If you need a shopping bag, we will provide you with a paper bag.  
Posted 2/10/2019 12:45pm by Harland;s Creek Farm.

Our 2019 CSAs are open for sign-up. In 2019, Harland's Creek Farm is intensifying its efforts in environmental protection: 

  • This year we have CERTIFIED ORGANIC EGGS 
  • We are focusing on reusable and COMPOSTABLE/REUSABLE packing

As always, we are growing organically. This includes our vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Looking to our future, we are expanding our products. Our pear orchard is flourishing; we have planted raspberries; and are increasing our melon production. Also, we continue our efforts to provide opportunities for our farmworkers. Erasmo Flores who began working on the farm is a part-time field hand is now a partner in Harland's Creek Farm LLC. He and his wife Yoli Hill manage and work on all aspects of the farm. They are now bringing their son's into the effort. 

REMEMBER that organic farming is not just healthier for the consumer and the land. Organic farming pulls carbon from the air and makes a major contribution to mitigating global warming. 

Click around on this website to read more and sign-up. 

Posted 1/16/2019 4:26pm by Harland;s Creek Farm.

10 % Discount for Signing up and Paying

EARLY

READ HERE

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Posted 11/27/2018 11:12am by Harland;s Creek Farm.

Harland's Creek Farm is selling firewood this fall and winter. We have oak and hickory. Hurricanes and blustery weather have knocked down trees over the past two years. Unfortunately. the recent ones also destroyed crops. Thus, our efforts to turn a sow's ear (the damage from hurricanes) into a silk purse (sales of wood to warm you from the outside rather than food that nurtures you from within). 

Currently, we are cutting a large oak that came down in Hurricane Matthew two years ago and an oak that fell last winter across the path behind Judy's that runs into the woods. The hickories have only been down for about two months, and we are waiting to cut them. However, if you need a little hickory for making hickory smoked meats and veggies on your grill, we can cut some for you because the greener wood is better for smoking.    

We deliver by the truckload which contains about a half-cord. Below are pictures and prices: 

     

 Hickory and Oak  

$200 delivered/stacked   -- $160 customer pick-up

Amount: 60 cubic feet ~0.5 cord: Stack 3’x10’x1.5’

Harland’s Creek Farm --  hcffarmers@gmail.com

Call Erasmo @ 919 799-6982  

 

Posted 8/4/2017 5:00pm by Judy Lessler.

In my last post, I talked about Tomato Sandwiches and the controversy in NC as to the preferred type of mayonnaise. Tomatoes are often served as a topping to traditional Italian bruschetta (or fettunta), which is grilled, stale-bread with olive oil and garlic. My review of numerous articles and recipes has led me to believe this simple dish of grilled bread rubbed with garlic cloves and drizzled with olive oil can engender the passionate differences similar to those surrounding use the of Duke’s or Hellman’s mayo on a tomato sandwich. These differences may have a long history. Famous Italian cookbook writer, Marcella Hazan, is said to have determined bruschetta was likely invented by the ancient Romans. Burscare means to char and, supposedly, the ancient Roman farmers sampled their newly pressed olive oil with bread roasted over coals. Who knew?  

Italians drink wine with their bruschetta, and all embrace the foundational instruction to use, day-old bread, month-old oil, and year-old wine. But then they converge. Some recommend grilling the bread once, others twice but dipping it in a plate of water between the two grillings. Still others espouse using very stale bread and dipping it in water before a single grilling. One writer advises rubbing an entire clove of garlic into a single piece of bread; another to use one clove for four slices of bread. Finally, do you brush or drizzle the olive oil over the bread? Who knows?     

If you are using a tomato topping, many other issues arise. Do you peel the tomatoes? Must they be seeded? Should they be drained after chopping? Can you mix them with salt, basil, and olive oil to save steps at table? The statistician in me figured out if I tried all the variations recommended in the articles I read, I would need to make 72 different combinations.  

I did not try 72 combinations; however, I did develop my own recipe for Italian Bruschetta with Tomatoes, which I distilled from these readings (and some years of experience). It is given below.  

I did try three different ways of charring the bread. I was suspicious of Marcella Hanzan’s statements attributing the origin of bruschetta to Ancient Romans. Now I believe her. My three versions were: flamed charred bread, dark pan-grilled bread, and light pan-grilled bread. The two with black char on them were definitely the best.   I was surprised!

 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/sfc-dynamic-content/gallery/292/w500/bruschetta_assembled.jpeg         

Italian Bruschetta with Tomatoes

6 servings  

6 small ripe tomatoes or roma tomatoes

6 thick slices (half-inch or more) of stale Tuscan or sourdough bread

6 cloves of garlic

6 tablespoons top quality olive oil

6 large basil leaves (optional)  

Dip tomatoes in boiling water to loosen peels. Cool quickly, peel, split, remove most of the seeds, and chop into half-inch pieces. Drain in a colander, place in a bowl, and add salt to taste. Peel and gently crack the garlic with the side of a knife or a garlic press. You want the garlic to remain nearly whole.  Grill bread over charcoal, on a gas grill, under a broiler, or on the stove. Rub one clover garlic into onto each slice of bread. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with basil cut into thin ribbons if desired. PEELING THE TOMATOES IS ESSENTIAL.

 

Posted 7/25/2017 11:18am by Judy Lessler.

It is tomato sandwich time. The picture is a tomato sandwich with turkey bacon. It just needs the last preparation step. It has to be smashed. After taking the photo, I pressed down hard on one side, turned it over, and pressed hard on the other. This causes the juices to penetrate the bread, and if you do a good job, you may need a bib to eat it.   

 

Here’s the scoop on tomato sandwiches: The classic tomato sandwich is simply tomato and mayonnaise on white bread. In assessing quality, people could debate the variety of tomato, the type of bread, and the appropriateness of additives, such as basil, dill, or a cucumber. These ingredients do not inspire much passion at least not the passion the type of mayonnaise does. Should you use Hellman’s or Duke’s?     

In the mid-twentieth century when I was growing up, some people were known to use Miracle Whip instead of mayo. This has since been recognized as a colossal mistake, and since the dawning of the twenty-first century, it is rare to find a Miracle Whip proponent. Curiously, Miracle Whip has become very popular in Germany, which a strange development given that Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world, and you would expect that Germans, in general, would be upholding high standards of decorum and manners as benefits their new leadership status. I learned about the popularity of Miracle Whip in Germany from Wikipedia, and, upon consideration, think it may be OK. Wiki did not mention how the Germans were eating Miracle Whip.  Perhaps it is not on tomato sandwiches and does not represent a desecration of culinary standards.  

You do not need to search far to find articles and “research” on the Duke’s versus Hellman’s conflict. In 2015, Our State magazine published an article by Susan Strafford Kelly called Mayo Mutiny about this conflict. Kelly reports interest in resolving this conflict is now so widespread and intense that people are conducting their own blind studies and posting the results on social media. She also noted a general preference for Duke’s mayonnaise. 

Only 18 months later, Kathleen Purvis reported in the Charlotte Observer on the results of a small experiment conducted by the Piedmont Culinary Guild with chefs and farmer. This created an uproar among Duke’s proponents because Hellmann’s won.  

I worked for thirty-years as a research statistician. I can confidently state that these small scale experiments are flawed in terms of sample size, randomness, and control of extraneous variables. Therefore, just go with your own preferences, but remember to keep the Duke’s on hand to make a sandwich for your visiting aunt.    

Posted 2/1/2017 10:22am by Judy Lessler.

We farm organically to protect:

our staff--our customers--our world  

The following quote from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations says it all:   “…organic [methods] …are increasing soil organic carbon by [transferring] large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere to the soil … enhanced carbon sequestration, coupled with additional biodiversity…makes organic agriculture [has] potential for mitigating and adapting to climate change. From http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-specialfeatures/oa-climatechange/en/  January 29, 2017.

We are doing our part to save the earth. 

Join us in our mission

 

Posted 11/11/2016 8:41pm by Judy Lessler.
Christmas Trees
American Red Cedar--Organic
 

The American Red Cedar is the traditional NC Christmas tree. When I was growing up, every family went out and cut one down for Christmas. Harland's Creek Farm will be delivering Christmas trees at the Saturday Market in December. Trees will be cut on Friday for delivery on the following Saturday. We will be taking orders starting on November 11, 2016.Come by,look at a sample, and place your order. Price is $25.00 per tree.   

Posted 5/10/2016 10:04am by Judy Lessler.

Escarole and endive (Chichorium endivia) are native to the East Indies, were brought to Egypt and known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was grown in England by the 1500s. It is in the same family as dandelions. A similar plant, Chichorium intybus, includes chicory and radicchio, is native to northern Europe.

I first became enamored with escarole after a visit to France in October 2012. Farmers markets were full of large escarole plants that sometimes weighed nearly a kilogram (2.2 lbs.).  It is a cool weather plant and grows better in a place like France where the weather is cool but not cold. We generally pick it much smaller than the French versions because of the heat of NC. Endive comes in two types, so called Belgian Endive or witloof  and is grown from roots that are stored in a root-cellar or cooler and then forced to produce leaves in the fall and early winter. I have never tried it because of the technical skill needed. 

Frisࣾếe is a very frilly form of endive and is called Trés Fine Maraīchère in France. I have grown this and found it to be a good addition to salads.

Below is a picture of the type we grow.

 

 

https://s.graphiq.com/sites/default/files/5806/media/images/USDA_Escarole_4345265.jpg

Posted 4/29/2016 9:22am by Judy Lessler.

Farm News: The big news of 2016 is that HCF is now an LLC with multiple partners, Judy Lessler, Erasmo Flores, and Rene Rios. Rene’s wife, Clementine, and Erasmo’s wife, Yoli, are also working on the farm. It is wonderful to have other women on the farm. Below is a picture of the three HCF women in front of the salad mix patch; Yoli, Judy, and Clementine in that order. 

 

It has been a good year for planting, and we have lots and lots of greens in the field. Look forward to a bounty during the next 6 weeks. We have also started the summer plantings. Tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers are already in the ground. Our potatoes got frozen back three weeks ago; however, they are now growing well.  

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Where to buy our organic food

You can get our food by:

Visiting one of these local restaurants:

Pittsboro restaurants that have local food we love are: