Category Archives: Farms

December Dinner at the Dairy

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As a Christmas present, my sister and I decided to go to a dinner at Goat Lady Dairy  together with our husbands, instead of buying gifts.  My sister and her husband had never been, while Vee and I had only been once before in May.

We started off with an (unpictured) appetizer on the porch:  Giacomo’s Salami Toscana with Smoked Sweet Potato Mousse and Caramelized Sage Onions.  It was really interesting; I never would have thought to put sweet potato and salami together, but it worked really well.

After a few appetizers, we took a tour of the farm where the owner, Steve Tate, explained that it was breeding season for the goats.  He said they set up a buck in a pen by himself to um (ahem) get the doe’s in the mood…. he is appropriately called the Teaser.  I tried to take a picture of him when we first got there before the tour, but he was stomping around like he was mad, so I didn’t take the picture.  Little did I know why he was mad at the time!  My sister got to the farm before me and said he was talking to her and told her his name was Billy.  I think what he was really saying to her was “Hey baby, what’s yo name?”  The sound they make sounds like Chewbacca!

After the tour we went inside to enjoy the company and our meal, which was prepared by Chef Scott Carter.

GLD Artisan Cheeses served with with a Spicy Fall Cabbage Salad avec Mustard Vinegrette
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Yoghurt and Roasted Seeds
Fresh greens with blanched carrot sticks, radishes, toasted Pecans, and a Smoke Onion & Garlic Aioli
Smoked Pork Loin with sage infused Gravy, Mixed Brasied Greens & Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel and a Blue Berry Reduction
Coffee & a Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffle

sisters!

Everything was delicious as expected.  If you are in the Greensboro, NC area, I encourage you to experience dinner at the dairy!  Their 2012 dinner dates are ready for reservations!  Goat Lady Dairy is also offering a new casual dining event called Sunday Supper.  It includes a tour of the farm and a three course buffet.

You can read about my first experience at the dairy here.

Dinner at Goat Lady Dairy

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Goat Lady Dairy is located right outside Greensboro in Climax, NC,  and they host dinners at the dairy on selected dates.

We were greeted by this happy lady when we arrived.

Radish, boursin and chive tartines were passed around on the porch.

And we enjoyed this view.

It was really relaxing and peaceful to listen to all the birds, frogs, and insects.  Sometimes it’s just nice to be still and listen to nature instead of all the man-made noises that we hear on an everyday basis.  It reminded me of when I was really young and would play outside all the time.  The noise of nature was familiar to me back then, but everything seemed so new at the same time: the ants, frogs, worms, and even dirt was fascinating. When is the last time you played in the dirt or walked barefoot on the grass?

A tour of the farm started at 6:00.  Steve was our tour guide.  He is the brother of the founder of Goat Lady Dairy.  He explained that his sister was a nurse and raised goats as a hobby.  One day she decided to ride around town looking for land and two of her goats accompanied her in the car.  Obviously people noticed the goats and started referring to her as “the goat lady” and that’s how the name of the dairy came to be.  He also went on to explain how the goats are raised and cared for.

Vee and my friend Kim even got to feed baby goats!

Steve also took us around to see the garden, bee hives, and the chickens.  He talked about the importance of sustainability and how they strive to live with that in mind.  Their produce is grown organically and some of their buildings have been structured to use solar energy for power.

Dinner was prepared by Chef Charis Rose and started at 7:00 with a cheese plate.  Steve talked about the different cheese on the plate and the process while we ate.  I honestly can’t remember the details of what Steve talked about because after the first taste of cheese, I was a goner.  My thought process went something like this: ohmygodthischeeseissogoodomnomnomnomcheeseyumyummyyumcheesecheesecheeseMmmmm.

In other words, it.was.AMAZING!  My favorite was the smokey flavored goat cheese at 3:00.  Vee’s favorite was the one at 9:00, which was sweet and my second favorite.

North African Chickpea and Kale soup, which had brown sugar and allspice mixed in.  Again, amazing.  Vee is not a big fan of goat cheese and kale, but I believe this dinner changed his mind!

mixed greens with fresh thyme vinaigrette and farmers cheese

At this point we were all getting full, but had two more courses to go!
local free range chicken and shiitake pot pie

The biscuit was my favorite part, naturally.  I love bread.

I can confidently say that this is the best cupcake that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Mmm hmm seriously.  You know that show on Food Network, “Best Thing I ever Ate?” Sometimes I watch it and think about what is the best thing I ever ate and I can never really think of something that has been good enough to really declare “that is the best thing I ever ate.”  But now I can say that the Pink Peppercorn Cupcake at Goat Lady Dairy is hands down the best cupcake I ever ate.  Yes, you heard right, pink peppercorn.  Pink Peppercorn frosting paired with a rich velvety chocolaty cake.  It was spicy, sweet, and chocolaty all wrapped in one delicious treat.  Heaven, I say.

Last, but not least, they sent us home with goat cheese truffles.  I took a nibble and saved the rest for later.  It was smooth and creamy.  I think the others in my group like the truffle over the cupcake better.

It was such a pleasure to have dinner at Goat Lady Dairy and to experience slow food at its finest.  I highly recommend this experience to anyone in the area.  Their menu changes according to what is available and in season.  Please visit their website for more info!

Windy Hill Farm and the Atherton Market

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Like I was saying, after Owen’s Bagel & Deli, we headed to the Atherton Market across the street.  Our main reason for going was to pick up some items that I ordered from Windy Hill Farm.  Windy Hill Farm is based in New London, NC and they humanely raise their animals without the use of hormones or antibiotics.  They sell pork, lamb, beef, chicken, and eggs.  You can usually buy their products from the Atherton Market & Mill and the Yorkmont Farmers Market.

The cool thing about Windy Hill Farm is that you can pre-order on their website and pick it up at one of the markets on Saturday.  Or, you can pick up your order through the week at various other locations through the Buyers Club Pickups.  They currently have pickups in Salisbury, Lake Norman, Concord Mills, and Albemarle.  If that’s not convenient enough, then I don’t know what is.

Here are my goods:

BEEF. It’s what’s for dinner.

  • Special Steak sampler – various cuts
  • Pork Chops
  • Mild Sausage
  • Eggs

I also got a salad mix from Harmony Gardens and Kale from Mt. Pleasant

And yes, the greens are resting on a Dunkin Donuts box.

I also tasted the best Italian Ice in my life from The Frozen Melon.  Seriously, it was life changing.

I had the cantaloupe ice.

Now, this is the definition of refreshing.

Next on my list to try, is the tangerine!

When I got home, I made a salad with the greens I bought and added some Lavender and Fennel Goat Cheese that I found at Earth Fare.  I think most of my friends are aware of the goat cheese obsession I have and some (ahem, Vee) think I need an intervention.  You can’t stop me!

I topped the salad off with a Windy Hill Farm Fresh Egg!

You can always tell a farm fresh egg from a store-bought egg because the yolks always seem to be more orange than yellow.

Mmmm, get thee to the market.

Community Supported Agriculture

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way to support your local farmers and in return receive fresh local produce.  Most farms have CSA sign ups by the season.  You pay a fee for let’s say, 10 weeks, and you receive a share of what is harvested, usually once every week for that 10 weeks.

I received my last CSA share from Barbee Farms this week.  I have been signed up with them since this summer and loved the experience.  They do have a winter CSA, but I decided not to sign up due to the Holiday scheduling.  I hope to sign up with them again in the spring.  Until then, I will make my way to the Atherton Market when I can.

I originally decided to sign up for a CSA for three main reasons:

1.  I was getting tired of waking up early on Saturday morning to make it to the Farmers’ Markets.  As much as I wish I was, I am totally not a morning person!  By the way, this was before I saw the documentary Food Inc. > I had been trying to incorporate more fresh produce in my diet, but I always found that the produce in the grocery stores never looked that fresh and actually didn’t even taste that great either.  Of course some of it is okay and is still better than any other packaged food in the store.  I was just a little disappointed in the quality.  This is when I determined that I would try to buy my produce from Farmers’ Markets where I knew it would be fresh and tasted way better.  The truth is, that local produce hasn’t traveled across the country and lost half of its nutrients before it reaches you and also hasn’t been picked before its ripe.

2.  Then I saw the documentary Food Inc. and found out that most Farms offer CSAs.  I never knew such a thing existed.  This was great news for several reasons.  It meant that I could have my Saturday mornings back to sleep in.  I wanted to be sure that I had access to fresh local produce every week and usually CSA pickups are during the week in the evening.  I picked up my Barbee Farms CSA on Thursdays between 3 – 7pm.  Perfect!  More importantly, I was helping out a local business.

3.  I decided that signing up for a CSA would be a challenge.  You don’t get to choose what veggies and fruit you will get in your share.  You take what they give you; whatever was harvested that week.  I found myself always buying the same “safe” produce at the Farmers’ Markets.  Produce that I had eaten many times before.  I was a bit intimidated to try new things because I didn’t know how to cook or prepare it or if I would even like the way it tasted.  I knew the CSA share would push me out of my box and make me try new things.  I actually enjoyed finding new items in my box and searching the web or cookbooks for ways to prepare them.

Here is a list of all the new produce that I received in my CSA share that I had never eaten before:

  • Kale
  • Sprite Melon
  • Canary Melon
  • Leeks
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Patty Pan Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Swiss Chard

Here is a list of items that I have eaten before, but never prepared for myself:

  • Collards
  • Turnips
  • Mustard Greens
  • Eggplant
  • Radish

There are many more benefits to joining a local CSA.  Please read Agrigirl’s Top 10 Reasons to join a CSA.

Visit Eat Wild to find local farms in your area.

“Shake the hand that feeds you.”
— Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto)

Happy Halloween

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Fall is my favorite season.  It always has an eerie feel: the fiery leaves, the chilly wind, the days getting dark earlier, and the scary movie marathons on TV.  Ghostbusters, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice,  28 Weeks Later…….28 Weeks Later scared the crap out of me, but I can’t help but watch it when it comes on TV.  Those zombies run fast, man!

Growing up, the best part of Fall was Halloween.  I loved dressing up and getting tons of candy to rot my teeth.  I was a witch many times, and a mouse, a pirate, dead cheerleader, cat, and that’s all I can remember.

This year, I was a dead girl from the 60’s.  The dress was my Granny’s, which probably was from the 60’s or 70’s.

 

Other cool things about Fall are the pumpkins.

This little guy came in my Barbee Farms CSA box.  I learned from their weekly email that decorative pumpkins are not usually meant to be eaten because they are tasteless.  This pumpkin, however, is a “pie” pumpkin and it is grown to be eaten.  Did you know that?  I didn’t.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

No, Those Aren’t Worms

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Vee’s sister Christie came to visit this week.  She had to fly out of Charlotte for a business trip and decided to spend the night with us!  Christie is super cool and I love hanging out with her.  She is also a yoga instructor and has the perfect chillax voice for it.

Vee and Christie

I cooked dinner that night and our appetizer was Zucchini Muffins with Chocolate Chips!!  It really should have been dessert, but who cares!  We can do what we want!  They were yumsy in my tumsy.  We make our own rules!

Zucchini Muffins

I made a loaf without chocolate chips as well.

Zucchini Loaf

For dinner we had salad, pasta, sprite melon, and oven roasted corn and eggplant.  The bell pepper, corn, eggplant, and sprite melon came from Barbee Farms.

Have you ever heard of a sprite melon?

Sprite Melon

This was my first time eating one.  It is a type of Asian melon and is similar to a cantaloupe. It taste like a cantaloupe except it is super sweet and is a little crispier and firmer.

Zucchini Bread

This recipe is adapted from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or safflower oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy.
  3. Mix in oil, applesauce, and sugar.
  4. Stir in zucchini and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture with the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Pour half of the batter in an 8×4 inch loaf pan.
  8. Mix the chocolate chips into the remaining batter and spoon into a muffin pan.
  9. Bake muffins for 30 minutes and loaf for 60 minutes at 325.

This recipe will make 2- 8×4 loafs or 24 muffins.

A Plaza Midwood Day

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If you are ever in the Charlotte area, I encourage you to spend a day exploring Plaza Midwood.  It is a fun and eclectic neighborhood with unique shops and restaurants.

First, you can choose to eat at two of my favorite places:  Zada Jane’s or The Dish.  Zada Jane’s has an awesome breakfast menu with the option to get Grateful Growers Farm sausage. It is a $1 extra, but you would be supporting local and you can rest easy knowing it contains no hormones or antibiotics, so just do it!  My breakfast was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture before I finished it all.  I had a chance to take a picture of Vee’s though, because he is a slow eater!

Zada Jane's

Zada Jane's

If you are not feeling breakfast, head across the street to The Dish for some good ol’ homestyle cookin.  They serve Pot Roast, Cajun Meatloaf, and Chicken & Dumplings to name a few and most plates come with a devilled egg on the side.  One of my favorite items to get is the Spinach and Portobello Quesadilla.

Quesadilla and Bacon Cheeseburger from The Dish

The Dish

One other eating option that I do not have a picture of is The Penguin.  They serve some mean juicy burgers and fried pickles!!!

Now after stuffing your face with all this to-die-for food, it’s time for dessert.  Yes I know you saved room, don’t lie!  There is an old school Dairy Queen if you feel like something cool.  I, however, like to go to Nova’s Bakery and get a Lemon Bar.  My friend Jen introduced me to this place when I first moved here and she raved about the sweet and tart Lemon Bars.  So one day we went there and she ordered one and then I ordered one and she said “Oh, I thought we  were going to split one!”  I was like “Um no, I want to eat the whole thing thank you very much!”

Sugar Cookie and Lemon Bar from Nova's Bakery

Nova's Bakery

After dessert, put on your walking shoes and browse around some of the shops.  One of my favs is Pura Vida Worldly Art.  We got this little guy there.  Unfortunately, he had an accident with his arm.  We still love him though! 🙂

Day of the Dead Figure from Pura Vida Worldly Art

Pura Vida Worldly Art

Plaza Midwood also has few antique shops.  I got two cute little Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes from 1510 Antiques.

Butterprint Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes circa 1960's

1510 Antiques

Also check out Hong Kong before you leave the area.  They have awesome vintage clothes for men and women; even cute dresses like this!

Hong Kong Vintage Dress

Hong Kong

There are many more unique and fun stores in this area to check out other than the ones I mentioned.  These were just a few of my favs.  I hope you enjoy a Plaza Midwood Day soon!