Category Archives: Links

Restoring the Family Table 1.2

Lunch consisted of a Brined Turkey, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, grilled zucchini, purple beans stir-fried with garlic and onions, Homemade Peach Salsa and local bakery bread.  Dessert- Honey sweetened homemade yogurt with blueberries and blackberries and ginger mint.

It was nice to share lunch with family- 2 aunts, my mother, daughter and husband.

Brined Turkey- I had put a Restoration Farm Non-GMO fed heritage turkey in the brine Saturday about noon. The brine consisted of a Naked Apple Hard Cider, local peaches diced up, salt and peppercorns, rosemary and sage from the herb garden and an Italian herb mix from Meanwhile Back in Saluda, which is where I got the cider and salt.  The salt has been my most exciting find so far. It is from a company called Dickinson Salt Works in Malden, W Va.  Apparently in the early 1800’s an ancient sea ( Iapetus Ocena) was discovered deep below the Appalachian Mountains.  Today, two 7th generation descendants of William Dickinson are capturing this seawater, evaporating and hand harvesting a finishing salt. Very exciting to have an Appalachian Mountain salt.   I also found a wonderful condiment at Manna Cabanna in Saluda. It is a Caramelized Onion and Garlic jam from a local business- Happy Wife, Happy Life. Don’t you just love the name???   Just a touch really gave a pop to the brined turkey.

All vegetables and fruits were found at local farmers markets.- Tryon, Saluda and Columbus or Manna Cabanna in Saluda ( I got onions here), or my garden.  Butter and Milk for the potatoes from the Mill Spring Farm Store.  The Non-GMO wheat Bread came from Cool Mamas Bakery in Green Creek. Since I started making my own yogurt several years ago I have cut the cost of this purchase by at least 75%. It is easy to do and makes me feel very accomplished. We have bees on our farm and the honey, well…’s awesome too.   You can find local honey at most farmers markets, Meanwhile Back in Saluda, Manna Cabanna in Saluda and the Mill Spring Farm Store.

All about Pumpkins!

This week, in honor of October’s finest fruit, we will be talking about pumpkins.  

We are also celebrating the pumpkin by giving away pumpkins at the Polk County Tailgate Markets!  Don’t forget to stock up on other great seasonal fall produce, eggs, meats, and crafts after you score your pumpkin!  The Pumpkin Giveaways will take place:

  • October 16th-Tryon (Palmer and Trade Street) 4-6 pm
  • October 17th– Saluda (West Main Street) 4:30-6:30 pm
  • October 18th– Columbus (Courthouse Square) 8-12 pm


  • Pumpkins originated in Central America and were cultivated before Maize.
  • Pumpkin seeds have been found at archaeological sites in the American southwest dating back six thousand years, as well as at sites throughout Mexico, Central and South America, and the eastern United States.
  • The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word pepon meaning “large melon.”
  • The popular Jack-be-little pumpkin is actually a gourd, not a pumpkin.
  • Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
  • North Carolina pumpkin acreage has been estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 acres.
  • The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and filled the insides with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in hot ashes.  The pumpkin actually served as the crust!
  • Native Americans dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats.


Health Benefits of Pumpkins

  • Pumpkins are a great source of beta-carotene
  • Pumpkin seeds are anti-parasitic!
  • Accoring to the National Institutes of Health, a cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, which aids in vision, especially in dim light.
  • Nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols, which have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
  • Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, which has been shown to help prevent cancer and wrinkles too!
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino-acid Tryptophan, which is important in the production of serotonin.  So they may make you happier!!
  • A serving of pumpkin has more potassium than that of a banana!

A Unique Pumpkin Recipe

(Pumpkin Pickles)

  • 1 lemon
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 sugar pumpkin (3 to 4 pounds), seeded, peeled, and cut into 1 1/2 × 3/4 × 3/4 -inch pieces
Directions: (45 minutes):
  •  Using vegetable peeler, remove strips of zest from lemon. In large nonreactive saucepan, combine zest, sugar, vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, and salt. Simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar, 5 minutes. Add pumpkin. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin is crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.
  • With slotted spoon, transfer pumpkin pickles to sterilized canning jars (you will need about 8 half-pint jars or 4 one-pint jars). Pour in cooking liquid to within 1/4 inch of top of each jar. Seal. Refrigerate and use within one week, or sterilize jars following canning jar manufacturer’s instructions for longer storage.

giant_pieThe largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.



Fall is a great time to check out a farm, sip on some warm cider, and pick your own apples and pumpkins.  Even though NC isn’t a huge grower of pumpkins, we have some pick-your own pumpkin farms not far from Polk county.  To find these farms I utilized a great site:  With this website you can search counties or broader regions for specific crops, farms, farm stands, etc.  I did a simple search for pick-your own pumpkin in Western NC, and got a list of several farms to choose from.

One thing to note is that many of these farms do not allow you to actually go out and pick a pumpkin, though there are a few near us.  Instead they let you choose from a variety of pumpkins they have purchased from another farmer and have on site.  The best way to know is to call the number listed before driving out there.

 Enjoy pumpkin season!!


CFSA Gap Certification Videos

CFSA recently launched a series of videos to supplement the “Good Agricultural Practices for Small and Diversified Farms: Tips and Strategies to Reduce Risk and Pass an Audit” manual. This video series continues to document real-world examples of how small, diversified farms can employ these tips and strategies to meet GAP certification requirements.  We hope you find this video series useful, and be on the lookout for future GAPS workshops throughout the Carolinas.

Organic Growers School

I wanted to recap some of the amazing things that I saw and learned at the Organic Growers School in Asheville March 8th and 9th.  I have been to the Carolina Farm Stewardship conference twice but never have been to OGS. It was fantastic. I wanted to pass along some of the things I learned and hope that you can use them.

The first class was MicroHydro Electricity with Bob and Pat Momich. What is basically boils down to is for a system they were looking at prices ranging from $7,300 to $9,500. There are cheaper ways to go but these systems provide a quality power input with reliability. Below is a copy of the handout given in class that has some great resources and a breakdown of the costs.

Instructor’s Handout from Class

Growing & Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal, and other Woodland Medicinals with Jeanine Davis was the second class I took. It was also great and got me interested in the production power of our forest lands. (Bonus: Jeanine is our Friends of Ag Breakfast speaker this Wednesday the 19th) Below are some great resources:

NC Alternative Crops and Organics Blog

NC Herbs

Lastly, Jeanine is also just about to launch a revised copy of her book with the same name of the presentation, available May 2014, you can pre-order the book here.

The third class I took was a half day workshop on Drystone Masonry with Dry Stone Joe. I have rock walls throughout the property that I own but are all held together with mortar – the art of dry stacking and shaping and placing rocks was fun to watch and learn.  He teaches workshops through WNC and has a website with alot of great resources and I have listed below three of the websites specifically that he mentioned.

Dry Stone Joe

Drystone Walling Association

Trow & Holden Tools

The Stone Foundation

Sunday was Permaculture day, I spent all day in one place listening to some amazing ideas. The first class was Innovative Horticultural Strategies for a New Permaculture Century with Chuck Marsh of Useful Plants Nursery. I was lucky and unfortunate enough to eat dinner with Chuck at the CFSA conference – lucky because I had 3,000 questions to ask him and unfortunate because I felt terrible and asked all of two.  Chuck went over an amazing amount of stuff but three things I walked away with were – coppicing is a great way to harvest wood and to keep your fruit trees forever young, living fences are amazing, and deep bed gardening is an impressive way to grow.

The next class was with Zev Friedman and was entitled Real Life Forest Gardening and Farming. This was also really interesting and one of the things I walked away wanting to know even more about was The Milpa Cycle – the three sisters garden’s grandmother.

The Organic Growers’ School was really amazing and I hope you will consider going next year. There’s nothing quite like a fresh perspective and to be energized for the coming growing season. The School also features classes throughout the year so it is well worth your time to look at their website and see what classes they have coming up.

Fruits for the Home Garden


Curious about blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries? Cooperative Extension has information about the best berries for Polk.

Order cultivars selected for our area through Polk Cooperative Extension. Try growing ‘Nantahala,’ a new release from NCSU.